‘The Voice’ Episode 3 Recap: X-ing Out The Competition?
Christina Aguilera and "The Voice" went up against Britney Spears and "The X Factor" Wednesday night, in possibly the most exciting televised competition between the former "Mickey Mouse Club" starlets since they vied for Madonna's affections onstage at the 2003 VMAs. Back then, Xtina had to settle for sloppy seconds, but this time she came out on top, so to speak, as "The Voice" surprisingly prevailed in the ratings. I say "surprisingly" because, honestly, "The X Factor" was the better show of the night. But clearly "The Voice"--after establishing itself as a consistent source of entertainment (let's face it, "The X Factor" wasn't quite so consistent, or so entertaining, in Season 1)--has an extremely solid fanbase. And apparently it's a fanbase that can't be lured away for even an hour, not even by Simon Cowell or Britney Spears.
This is not to undersell "The Voice"--it does what it does very well, which is present one normal, humble singer after another, for all the family to enjoy. So while "The X Factor" paraded out a drag-queen cake decorator in a wedding dress, a 50-year-old breakdancer, and a pair of smack-talking mean girls, "The Voice" kept things positive and relatively gimmick-, and drama-, and schadenfreude- free. Unfortunately, this made for a somewhat dull episode. Until the end, that is. That's when a contestant named Domo, who I swear must've gotten lost on her way to her "X Factor" (or "America's Got Talent," or "Gong Show") audition, showed up. But more on her later.
Anyway, in case you were watching "The X Factor" Wednesday night and forgot to set your DVR for NBC, here's what you missed:
Samuel Moulton - This reggae-lovin' pizza chef and "loser" gave a performance of "Redemption Song" that sounded like an eerily dead-on Bob Marley impression. But that was precisely the problem: It sounded like an IMPRESSION. It just didn't sound authentic to me, at all--come on, this dude, unlike Monday's Anita Antoinette, didn't grow up in Jamaica. Heck, he didn't even grow up in Jamaica, Queens! However, Cee Lo Green, Adam Levine, and Christina, who all hit their buttons, all thought that Sam sounded like the real deal. Cee Lo said he was "not a copycat"; Adam said, "I can tell you're a scholar of reggae music"; and Xtina told him, "You seem like a real artist with something to say." (To quote "American Idol's" Jason Castro, I think that something was, "I was thinkin' Bob Marley!") Sam went with Adam, which I think was the best choice, but Adam better teach this kid how to sing in his own voice, and in his own style, or Sam's shtick is going to get old real fast.
MEMBER OF: Team Adam
Chris Trousdale - I felt really bad for this down-on-his-luck ex-member of Jesse McCartney's old boy band Dreamstreet, as he talked about the humiliation of being recognized by his former fans while he's waiting tables at a sushi restaurant and waiting to get another break someday. I was even hoping that "The Voice" would provide him with that break. But when Chris started singing the Wanted's "Glad You Came"--kind of a dumb song choice, if he was trying to distance himself from his boy band past--it soon became obvious why his career has stalled, while Jesse's has thrived. Chris just wasn't that good, and my guess is, back in his Dreamstreet days he was the one who danced in the back and never got to sing any leads. The best thing about his performance was his moonwalk, but really, all his dancing compromised his vocals even more, and he sounded a bit winded throughout. When no chairs spun around, he looked devastated--but not as devastated as his mom, who was seen backstage crying on Carson Daly's shoulder. Sad.
MEMBER OF: Team No One
Nelly's Echo - This 32-year-old Nigerian refugee, whose real name is Nelson, came to this land to pursue the American dream, which apparently is to become a singing star via a TV talent show. His "Ain't No Sunshine" performance was perfectly pleasant, and his backstory was moving, but he kind of seemed like a Javier Colon 2.0 to me, so I do not think this will be his year. Xtina and Adam apparently thought differently, though, since they both turned their chairs. For some reason, Nelly went with Christina, not with the more obvious choice of Adam. I honestly have no idea what Xtina is going to do with this guy.
MEMBER OF: Team Xtina